For those of you new to the Web since the end of May, you can be forgiven for having no clue about why Track is the shit. Despite months of denial, an open source clone war, a VC-backed API counter offensive, and unknown secret plans to force Twitter into a business model, Twitter still has not returned Track to service.
As a consequence, no one really knows what the world would be like if Track had persisted through the summer and fall. Perhaps Obama would have failed to stop Hillary’s comeback, Hillary would have lost to McCain, and VP-elect Romney would be just a heartbeat from the Residency. Or maybe the economic meltdown would have been stopped by an alert network of Track-enabled researchers bent on cracking the mysteries of derivatives. We’ll never know.
In Paris last week, I spent a few minutes with VC Fred Wilson in the LeWeb speaker room, huddled over a heater next to the bread and water tray. No, that’s not true; there was no bread, and the heater was actually Gabe Rivera’s new MacBook, busy serving up the only outbound connection to the rest of the known world. But Fred, a prominent Twitter investor and a visible Net citizen who actually responds to Tweets about sensitive questions like “Is Track coming back?”, told me Track is definitely coming back.
I can’t quote him verbatim (fingers too numb and light headed from lack of food and wifi) but the gist of what he said was this:
Track is working internally at Twitter.
The Summize engineers are working to perfect Track.
When it’s perfect they will ship it.
Fred has been consistent about this from the beginning. He is one of those who discovered Track pre-May and loved it, and now is eager for it to return. I didn’t have a chance to grill him further because he had to join a meeting of European startups for a two hour lunch, but I wouldn’t be surprised that since he said Track is up and running inside Twitter that for him it already is back.
Fred has solved his Track problem by owning a chunk of the company, but since Twitter is private we don’t have that option (or the money either.) So I’ve been doing some thinking – made possible by the lack of interruptions from a working Track – about how to accelerate the return of Track to our realtime arsenal. In Letterman order, here are the Top Ten ideas:
10. Begin Track filibuster in FriendFeed to disrupt realtime feeds.
9. Convince Obama to elevate Track to Cabinet level appointment.
8. Nominate Bob Dylan as Secretary of (Blood on the) Track(s).
7. Alternatively, invade Twitter and install Track-friendly government.
6. Convince Microsoft to divert 5-10% of total operating income from search to Track R&D.
5. Forget about it and go have two hour lunch.
4. Placeholder for some idea would have had if Track were working.
3. Shouldn’t the ideas get better closer to the bottom?
2. Build Track into Gears, and therefore Chrome.